Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The truth about troop support

(Excerpt) Hat tip to leftedgenorth

Cutting to the chase -- and, perhaps more than anything I've seen in recent years, truly defining the difference between the two parties -- is that the worst grade received by a Senate Democrat was higher than the best grade granted a Republican. GOP-lite Ben Nelson (D-NE) received the lowest grade of any Democrat with a B- while Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) managed a C grade from IAVA.

And, when I averaged the scores of both the Democratic and Republican caucuses by assigning the numeric midpoint of the letter grade received by each Senator, which party truly supports the troops was made remarkably clear: The 44 Democrats and Jeffords had an average military-support grade of B+, while the 55 Republicans, who beat their chests with disgusting regularity about how strong they are on military issues, averaged a pathetic D.

And how about the guys Americans will be voting on in two weeks? Republican Senator Mike DeWine -- you know, he's the guy who starts one of his campaign's television ads with "While they're fighting for us abroad, he's fighting for them at home" -- came in with a D+. His opponent, Democrat Sherrod Brown, was given a B rating for his military votes in the House, despite DeWine's bogus claim in an October 1 Meet the Press debate that Brown "has voted against funding for the military when it really counted."

Let's look at some of the other GOP stalwarts trying to keep their Senate seats this year by telling voters how much they fight for military families. George Allen (R-VA), Conrad Burns (R-MT) and James Talent (R-MO) couldn't manage to get over a D+. John Ensign (R-NV), Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Rick Santorum (R-PA) were all rated a lowly D- by the largest group dedicated to the troops and Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, of those Republican Senators, only Burns has actually served in the military himself.

And here's more stunning hypocrisy: In May, 2006, while giving a speech at the Nevada Republican Convention, Mr. D-minus himself, John Ensign, said "Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy -- let me tell you, I say this without reservation -- they have hurt our military" and, of Kennedy, Ensign once said "Every time Ted Kennedy gets up and speaks (against the war) he undermines our troops."

Pelosi and Kennedy both received a B+ rating from IAVA.

Click here to read the entire article

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Republican anal leak

$15,000 Buys a Lifetime Membership to Mitch McConnell's Quid Pro Quo Club

If the Republicans manage to keep control of the Senate — and that's a big if — Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who currently serves as Majority Whip, is poised to ascend to Majority Leader, as Bill Frist retires at the end of his term. In anticipation of this possibility, the Lexington Herald-Leader, has been investigating the Senator for the past six months and published its findings in a lengthy article yesterday. What did the Herald-Leader discover? A “nexus between his actions and his donors' agendas. He pushes the government to help cigarette makers, Las Vegas casinos, the pharmaceutical industry, credit card lenders, coal mine owners and others.”

McConnell is one of the GOP's more prolific fundraisers and has personally raised close to $220 million for his party over the course of his career. Marshall Whitman, a onetime aide to John McCain, told the paper: “He's completely dogged in his pursuit of money. That's his great love, above everything else.” Former Senator Alan Simpson said that “when he asked for money, his eyes would shine like diamonds. He obviously loved it.” Apparently McConnell was so intent on building up the GOP's warchest that he sold memberships to something called the “Senate Republican Inner Circle.” A donation of $15,000 bought wealthy individuals a lifetime membership (members could also pay $2,000 a year), which carried with it access to “the men who are shaping the Senate agenda.”

"Americans are big on rewards these days. Financial rewards in the stock market -- cash rewards on your credit cards -- luxurious rewards in the travel industry," McConnell wrote in one invitation. "But a special group of Americans is experiencing one of the greatest reward programs ever, because they took the initiative to become a Life Member of the Inner Circle."
Those rewards are greatly anticipated by corporate leaders who want a say in Senate decisions. After the Inner Circle welcomed Geoffrey Bible, chief executive at Philip Morris, he sent a copy of the announcement to his aides.
"So now I'm in," Bible wrote in the margin. "See if we can make the most of it."

When the paper questioned McConnell on his “inner circle,” the senator downplayed its significance, telling the Herald-Leader that “they want their picture taken with you; that's all it amounts to.” Hmmm. It's just a hunch, but something tells me that Bible and other members of McConnell's quid pro quo club were paying for more than just photo-ops.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Acknowledging our most precious asset

If you happened to read the Sunday Comics yesterday, you might have noticed that the Doonesbury strip had a reference to “the Sandbox” at Doonesbury.com. This is a place where we can read what is on the minds of our military people in and out of theater.

If you thought about checking it out, but didn’t for one reason or another, I advise you to check it out now. We will never be treated to a deeper slice of truth than the words cobbled together by our front line war fighters.

Here is the link.

Pass it around.